Back pain is quite common, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be serious. In fact, lower back pain is responsible for about 3% of emergency room visits. Back pain’s also one of the most common causes for missing work.
When you experience an aching back, it could be caused by injuries to any of the structures that support your spine, such as strains or sprains of muscles, tendons, or ligaments. However, back pain could also originate within the spinal canal itself and could threaten the health of your spinal cord.
Our spine experts at The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge take all back pain and spine pain seriously. That’s why we take the time to diagnose the exact cause of your pain at our offices in Baton Rouge, Walker, and Prairieville, Louisiana. Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore back pain or spine pain.
You could have a pinched nerve
One of the most common sources of back pain and spine pain is a “slipped” or herniated vertebral disc. Your discs are the shock absorbers in your spine, and prevent your vertebrae from rubbing against or colliding with one other.
As they get older and drier, your discs may rupture, spilling their inner contents into the spinal canal. The spinal canal is the small bony tunnel, formed by the vertebrae, that protects your spinal cord. Your spinal nerves also run through the spinal canal.
When disc material invades the spinal canal, there’s not much room to accommodate this excess tissue. Often, the ruptured disc presses against a spinal nerve, causing symptoms such as:
- Back or neck pain
- Pain in your arms or legs (radiating pain)
- Numb arms or legs
- Difficulty walking
Depending on the type and severity of your ruptured disc, we may recommend a number of therapies, ranging from anti-inflammatory medications to minimally invasive surgery.
You could have spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the space within your spinal canal becomes even narrower. Spinal stenosis can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Slipped discs
- Bone spurs from arthritis
- Aging ligaments
- Spinal injuries
We may administer spinal injections to reduce swelling. You may also benefit from spinal decompression surgery.
You could have compression fractures
Compression fractures are hairline fractures that occur in your vertebrae, usually as a result of aging and osteoporosis. When your vertebrae lose minerals and become more porous, they start to fracture and collapse.
One telltale sign of compression fractures is if you’ve lost height as a consequence of aging. We may repair your fractured discs by injecting them with cement, through procedures such as vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty.
You could have arthritis
The facet joints that allow your spine to move and twist comfortably and freely may develop arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs as a result of aging, as the protective tissue on bones wears away over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the protective tissue, too.
Whenever possible, we help you manage the pain of arthritis with noninvasive therapies, such as physical therapy to help you build a strong core that can support your spine. However, you may also need medications or surgery to alleviate your pain and restore mobility.
No matter what the source or reason for your back or spine pain, relief begins with a diagnosis. Treating back pain early also reduces the risk for developing chronic pain or disability. Call us today at 833-774-6327 for a spine pain consultation, or book your appointment online with our convenient form.